Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather has announced, via an interview with Toby Helm of the Observer, that she will not be seeking re-election to Parliament in 2015.
She cited disappointment with her party's stance on immigration and social issues since joining the Coalition among the reasons for her decision, as well as the impact on her own life and wellbeing. In a statement on her website, she said that her differences with the party "have been getting larger rather than smaller".
She told the paper:
I don't want to say it is impossible for other people to do it, but for me, with my resources, with who I am, with my constituency, I personally can't see how I can make this sustainable for the next 10 years and behave like a normal human being that I like.
Teather was elected as the MP at the Brent East by-election in 2003, overturning a 13,000 strong Labour majority to take the seat for the Lib Dems in what was considered to be a backlash against the Labour government's support for the Iraq war.
She was appointed Children's Minister on the formation of the Coalition, but was sacked during a reshuffle in September 2012. She subsequently spoke out against the government's benefit cap.
The timing of Teather's announcement - in the run-up to the Lib Dems' conference in Glasgow - and her decision to make it in an interview with a national broadsheet looks calculated to cause the maximum possible discomfort for Nick Clegg. She attracted a lot of criticism for voting against the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act earlier this year, and some commentators have suggested that this has attributed to her decision not to seek re-election.
A spokesperson for the Lib Dems told the Observer:
Of course we are disappointed by Sarah's decision.
The Liberal Democrats have a proud record in government, including cutting taxes for working people by £700 and lifting the poorest paid out of tax altogether; helping businesses create a million jobs; investing billions more in schools to help the poorest children and introducing radical plans for shared parental leave.
Sarah was a part of this when she served as a minister in the coalition, as well as playing a key role in ending Labour's disgraceful policy of locking up children for immigration purposes.